The Great Chasm

A recent Quinnipiac poll came out that had me shaking and scratching my head, while muttering under my breath interspersing the muttering with … “Hmmmm …” and “Say WHAT???

Now, before I get into the poll results that I find either confusing or unconscionable, let me pose a question for you … and this is one I would like you to ask of some of your friends who support the Republican Party …

If I am taking my trash to the curb and see your young child or grandchild playing in the street just as a large truck comes careening from the other direction, and if I run out and grab your child/grandchild out of harm’s way, what is the first thing you will say to me when I deliver your child/grandchild safely to your door?  Will you ask me whether I am a Democrat or a Republican?  Or will you simply thank me for saving your child/grandchild’s life?  Take a minute with that one, for I pose that we are so politically divided in this nation today that we have lost sight of what is most important to us.  I further pose that if you were a Republican and I said I was a Democrat, you would immediately start thinking of ways that the near miss must have somehow been my fault, rather than your own for allowing your child/grandchild to play out of your sight.

Political leanings seem to matter far too much these days.  For instance, when asked if they approved or disapproved of the way President Biden is handling his job, 79% of Democrats approved, as compared to only 4% of Republicans.  92% of Republicans disapproved, and 4% were still scratching their heads and saying, “Huh?  Who?”

The numbers improved ever so slightly when respondents were asked whether they approve or disapprove of Biden’s handling of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with 81% of Democrats approving, and a whopping 15% of Republicans approving.  77% of Republicans disapprove of the president’s handling of the war and 8% were scratching their heads saying, “Huh?  What’s Ukraine?”

This poll included  19 questions and I found the results both predictable, but at the same time stunning (not in any good way).  This nation, it seems to me, is so divided that the two sides almost represent separate nations in both their thoughts and actions.  It’s as if we are not even seeing the same set of circumstances, or as if we are looking through lens of different colours and levels of distortion.  And the head scratchers, those who have no opinion, puzzle me most of all.  HOW IN HELL can you have ‘no opinion’ or ‘don’t know’ about such things as the most important issues facing the nation today (#4).  How can one ‘not know’ if they have changed their vacation plans this year due to the rise in fuel prices???  And yet, 3% of those polled said they didn’t know.  Seriously, these people must have scabs on their heads from so much head-scratching!

There were some areas where Democrats and Republicans were not that far apart, such as the question (#9) about whether they were paying more, less, or about the same amount of attention to the war in Ukraine as the crisis has deepened.  The two parties were very nearly matched on that question, as well as the one (#12) about the level of concern that Russia would launch a nuclear weapon against the U.S.  But for the most part, the answers were worlds apart, and that, my friends, is the problem in this nation today.  We do not seem to see the world through the same lens, we do not seem to have the same goals, the same hopes for the future.  We are almost as two completely different species.

Six little words say it all …

It’s an old, old quote, attributed to the ancient Greek storyteller Aesop, both directly in his fable The Four Oxen and the Lion and indirectly in The Bundle of Sticks.  I think it is relevant, prophetic even, to our situation in the United States today and going forward.  I don’t pretend to know what will happen in the next 20-30 years … heck, I can’t even predict what will happen in the next 20 minutes.  But I can say with a great deal of certainty that our current situation is untenable.  Will it lead to a new civil war, will it lead to the U.S. as we know it today breaking into two or more warring nations?  How many lives will be lost, families destroyed, because the two sides cannot agree on virtually anything?  This nation is headed for a cliff … can we set aside our differences and instead look for common ground?  Will we before it’s too late?

16 thoughts on “The Great Chasm

  1. The divide is only maintained through constant, and increasing doses, of vitriol and hate. It is an expensive and labor intensive process. When the inputs are muted the divide starts to heal. I’ve seen this many times. I went camping with a fire-breathing right winger. After two days without his minimum three hours a day of Limbaugh he calmed down, started thinking more clearly and actually started to show signs of caring about people who weren’t just like him. Once we returned he went back to his old hateful self but, for a time, he was a human.

    The right-wing noise machine is powerful but its effects go away with time. There is also the fact that people exposed and addicted to this source need ever greater doses of ever stronger rhetoric. I just fail to imagine what can follow stories of an entire party of pedophiles who, just to make it clear who the bad guys are, ritually torture children, wear their skins, and drain their blood for a drug that provides, variously, both the best high ever, and eternal life. So we all are, as the stories go, all sadistic, pedophile, vampires.

    Where do you go after claiming that? What, exactly, would stronger medicine look like?

    If and when humanity can get people out of the media blast zone the majority of people will revert to thinking and feeling humans. There is a huge amount of time, money, resources, and creativity being consumed keeping the noise machine operating. The truth doesn’t need such inputs.

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    • I’m fascinated by the friend you went camping with and how his rhetoric died down, how he regained his humanity (albeit temporarily) when he wasn’t exposed to the 24/7 stream of hate that passes for ‘news’! I’ve long thought that one of these days, something so traumatic will come along … perhaps an EMP that knocks out power for much of the nation, or an act of war by another country … that we will find ourselves without the news stream, find ourselves fighting for survival rather than political goals, and at that point would we all find our humanity, learn to pull together for the good of humankind? Interesting to think about, isn’t it? Thank you for your thought-provoking insight!

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  2. Jill, it gets down to people reading, watching and listening to opinion entertainers disguised as news sources. Or, maybe they are only paying attention to people who parrot such information on social media. Biden is doing much better than Republicans say and not quite as good as Democrats say. Keith

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    • Quite so … and the media shares much blame/credit for the great divide in this nation today, too. Our system of education is obviously failing far too many. Seems there is much blame to be shared, but at the end of the day, we are all responsible for what we think, what we believe, and how we act. We can choose to be a part of the problem, or a part of the solution. Seems to me that far too many have decided to go on and finish the destruction of this nation.

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  3. Pingback: THE GREAT CHASM. |jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

    • In the past, I have voted for candidates of both parties, but today I cannot envision ever … EVER again voting for a member of the Republican Party. They have destroyed their own reputation by selling their integrity to the lowest bidder. Thanks for the re-blog, Ned!

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  4. Well, let’s see. The high percentage of GOP disapproval if Biden’s administration is easy because they know this is the common Republican position. No reason.. just cuz. About Ukraine they have no real position because, well, their party ‘dictators’ are hardly giving it any air time, what with the pressing issues of keeping a black woman off of the Supreme Court, spreading homophobic propaganda and passing legislation to strip women and minorities of their rights to vote and decide what is best for their bodies. In short, that 7% isn’t scratching their heads because that would imply confusion, contemplation and question. No, they are on standby, waiting for the GOP, aka, Cheetoh head Central, to tell them WHAT to think, WHEN to think and what they need yo do next. My husband and I, after raising four sons, seeing two sets of parents buried and working collectively for over 80 years, can NOT afford to live in the US without going on some public assistance programs. And in case you haven’t read it yet, rent is skyrocketing double and triple time. Check out Florida’s increases. DeSantis is evil personified. I do not apologize for that judgment.

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    • Good point on the ones I referred to as the “head scratchers”, Cheryl! You’re right … they’re still waiting for Tucker, the Republicans, and pastor Greg Locke to tell them WHAT to think. Yes, rent is skyrocketing along with groceries, but not for the reasons we are given … it is because landlords, food retailers, oil barons and the like see an opportunity to increase their own profits at our expense. You and your hubby have the right idea, living elsewhere … the girls and I are also considering a change of venue … I think I’d likely live longer somewhere outside the U.S.! I’m thankful, though, that I don’t live in Florida … or Texas … or any of the southern states … I would either be dead or in prison by now! Take care, my friend … be safe and try to be happy.

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  5. Jill, I would not know if the price of gas is going to change my vacation plans. Is Covid waving again? Has the war escalated beyond Ukraine’s borders? Are we in the midst of a flood? Are forest fires blocking highways? The price of gas is the least of my worries.
    As for the rest of it, democracy is falling apart at the seams, at least in America!

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  6. Yeah, cognitive dissonance is brightly lit around the country as the MAGAs and GOP go against anything that the Democrats and President Biden do. Their ability to rationalize staggers my mind. Fer ‘xample:

    A MAGA and anti-vaxxer had a stroke. Although he hadn’t seen a doctor in years, he blamed the vaccine. According to his daughter, who shared this, he blamed the vaccine even though he’d fallen and broken several ribs, suffering internal damage and bleeding. Yes, but the vaccine caused his stroke.

    How in the world do we ever deal with such twisted logic?

    Hugs and cheers

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    • That’s just it, Michael … rationality, logic, conscience have all left the party. We cannot deal with it, for our minds don’t work in the same way, it would seem. And that bothers & depresses some of us, those of us with the ability to use logic in our thought processes, but it doesn’t bother the others in the least. Has the world changed so much, or did we just not see it before? Sigh.

      Hugs ‘n cheers to you, my friend!

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